by John Kruse, January 05, 2020

Are you resolving to catch more fish for the new year? Here are five opportunities available right now:

PUGET SOUND BLACKMOUTH – Marine Area 10 opens up on January 1st for blackmouth (Chinook salmon) and with no fishing having taken place there for over two months, it’s anyone’s guess how it’s going to be. Gary Krein, the longtime owner of All Star Fishing Charters operating out of Seattle and Everett, is optimistic. Krein says baitfish tend to move into this part of the Sound in the winter, which in turn attracts the salmon. The fact that squid are also abundant here right now, providing more food for the salmon, also helps. Expect to see lots of fishing pressure in Marine Area 10 during calm weather weekends in January. The most popular spots will be off of Jefferson Head, near Kingston, and by the Edmonds oil docks. The pressure should lighten up after February 1st when Marine Areas 7, 8-1, 8-2 and 9 also open up.

LAKE CHELAN KOKANEE & LAKE TROUT – Mike Roth, the owner of Team Takedown Guide Service in Wenatchee, says Kokanee salmon fishing should be good this winter. As to where to go on this 50-plus mile long lake, that’s another question. Roth suggests fishing between Lake Chelan State park and 25-Mile Creek or if you are up for a longer run, fishing near Stehekin. The daily limit is ten fish and the Kokanee are averaging 10-inches long though you may get some as large as 13-inches. If you want to take a break from Kokanee, lake trout are also an option. You’ll find them deep, near the bottom, and fishing from Lake Chelan State Park to Manson are good places to look for these fish which often run 3 to 5 pounds but can weigh well over 20 pounds. For both fisheries, good marine electronics and downriggers are very useful.

LAKE SAMMAMMISH CUTTHROAT – Better known as a late winter/early spring smallmouth bass fishery in years past, Lake Sammamish between Issaquah and Redmond has developed into an outstanding winter cutthroat trout fishery. Most anglers launch from Lake Sammamish State Park and troll for trout using spinners, flies or spoons behind flashers or dodgers.

WINTER WALLEYE – This is the best time of year for a trophy walleye and many people think the next world record may well come from the Columbia River between Boardman and the Tri-Cities. How big do the walleye get here? In late December reported angler Brent Davis caught an 18-pound walleye that was 34 inches long and had a 20.5-inch girth. Davis was reportedly trolling a purple Bandit Walleye Deep Diver at a depth of 25 feet when this monster struck his crankbait.

Other places to fish for walleye this winter include Potholes Reservoir, where blade baiting is a popular technique, and Lake Roosevelt, which also holds a healthy population of these very good eating fish.

LAKE ROOSEVELT SMORGASBORD – Speaking of Lake Roosevelt and walleye, this 100-plus mile impoundment of the Columbia River offers solid fishing for several other different species during the winter months. Walleye can be found from Seven Bays to Kettle Falls while sizeable rainbow trout and kokanee are often found near Keller. Another species you may encounter in Lake Roosevelt are burbot. Called eelpout in the Midwest, they are also known as freshwater lingcod and are prized for their excellent taste.

Looking for suggestions on how to fish Lake Roosevelt or Lake Sammamish? Check out the library of reports available at Clark’s All Sports in Colville is also a good source for information about Lake Roosevelt. As for Lake Chelan, Rick Graybill at Hooked on Toys in Wenatchee or Travis Dawson at Sportsman’s Warehouse in East Wenatchee usually have good intelligence. Finally, if you want the latest about the fishing at Potholes Reservoir, contact Pete Fischer at the store at MarDon Resort.

John Kruse – and


Russell Johnston caught this winter walleye fishing the waters around Potholes State Park.


1/8/2020 1:43:13 PM
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